Man accused of shooting Washburn football players, killing one who used to play in Lee’s Summit

TOPEKA, Kan. -- Months after two Washburn University football players were shot near campus, the Shawnee County district attorney charged a man with first-degree murder and attempted first-degree murder. Francisco Alejandro Mendez, 18, faces a total of seven felony charges, including the murder charges connected to the shootings of Dwane Simmons and Corey Ballentine.

Simmons was shot and killed on April 28, he played in high school at Lee's Summit West. Ballentine was shot and wounded, he was drafted this past April by the New York Giants.

The two were at an off-campus party when Topeka officers responded that Sunday morning to the area of 13th and Lane at about 12:45 and found 23-year-old Simmons dead. Ballentine went to a hospital after he was shot, but was able to recover from his wounds, and reported to voluntary workouts with the Giants in May.

The district attorney says that in addition to the murder and attempted murder charges, Mendez also faces five counts of aggravated robbery for alleged crimes that happened on April 27 and 30. Those robberies are said to be related to the shootings. He's in jail and held on a $1 million bond.

Simmons was laid to rest in May, Ballentine helped carry his casket at the funeral. Family and friends remembered Simmons fondly, saying he touched many lives.

“I’m going to remember the little kid who grew up to make an impression, not just in Kansas City, but in Topeka, Kansas. Washburn University had one whole side of the church. They stayed the whole entire time. It speaks volumes of the type of young man he was, I tell you, You can tell the community loved Dwane," cousin Vonda Cloyd told FOX4 previously.

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